Report from FAO Warns of Biodiversity Loss in Agriculture

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has released a report showing that the biodiversity that underpins our food systems is disappearing–putting the future of our food, livelihoods, health, and environment under severe threat. State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture warns that when agricultural biodiversity is lost, it cannot be recovered. The report points to decreasing plant diversity in farmers’ fields, rising numbers of livestock breeds at risk of extinction, and increases in the proportion of overfished fish stocks. Of some 6,000 plant species cultivated for food, fewer than 200 contribute substantially to global food output, while just nine account for 66% of total crop production. Similarly, the world’s livestock production is based on about 40 animal species. Furthermore, information from the 91 reporting countries reveals that wild food species and many species that contribute to ecosystem services that are vital to food and agriculture, including pollinators, soil organisms, and natural enemies of pests, are rapidly disappearing. The full report is available online.